EXTENSION CONNECTION: Don't trash those fall leaves

Published: Monday, October 28, 2013 at 12:38 PM.

Billions of leaves blanket the fall landscape, and many homeowners bag them and place them curbside for trash pick-up.

However, many of these leaves could become valuable mulch or compost. So why do they end up in bags to be discarded?

It’s probably because the homeowner is overwhelmed by the volume. For instance, one resident reported raking more than 100 large bags of leaves from his half-acre property. One large oak tree can contain more than 250,000 leaves!

But did you know that homeowners have tools for reducing 100 bags of leaves to just 10?

Shredding and composting can reduce leaf volume by 90 percent and creates a manageable quantity of valuable mulch — and an excellent organic source for composting and converting into rich humus to improve the garden soil.

Shredded leaves stay seated better on the landscape than whole leaves. They also do a better job of holding moisture in the soil, and don't mat down like whole leaves.

But how do you shred leaves if you lack a costly leaf shredder?

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